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Calorie Count Blog

Hidden Calories in Beverages


By Mary_RD on Nov 02, 2010 10:00 AM in Tips & Updates
Edited By +Rachel Berman

Most people would assume that a latté, non-fat, no whip would be low in calories. But no!  The count for a Pumpkin Spice Latte, non-fat, no whip, venti at Starbucks is 330 calories. That latte’s lots of calories come from 7 teaspoons of sugar and 14 ounces of skim milk.  But it could be worse: the Pumpkin Spice Latte, whole milk, whipped, venti is 510 calories.  Beverages can be a surprising source of calories from added sugar and/or alcohol and fat.  And those liquid calories go down with such ease that we hardly even notice them.

The Amount We Drink

A report titled, What America Drinks, analyzed data from over 10,000 Americans aged four and older who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) between 1999-2000 and 2001-2002.  It found that beverages account for 22 percent of calories in the average American diet.  On any given day, nearly 50 percent of American kids and adults drink at least one sugary soft drink (aka soda.) When soft drink intake is averaged across the whole population (including non-consumers), intake is 12 fluid ounces per day, but soda drinkers average 24 fluid ounces.  Teenage boys drink the most soda, 31 fluid ounces on an average day.

Didn't See It Coming

When people drink their calories, they do not normally compensate by eating less. In a study published in the International Journal of Obesity, Richard Mattes, Purdue University professor of foods and nutrition, gave 15 normal-weight men and women an extra 450 calories a day as either a liquid (three 12-ounce cans of soda) or a solid (45 large jelly beans) for four weeks each.  He explained the study's results to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, “When they (the research subject) got the solid food, they ate less at other times, so they adjusted for all of the calories.” In contrast, “when they got the liquid food, they just added those calories to their customary diet. They didn’t compensate at all.”  He concluded that liquid calories simply aren’t as filling as solid calories.  It may be because liquids lack the filling power of fiber and/or they leave the stomach too fast for the brain to respond and react.  Although, thick liquids, such as shakes, register better than do thin liquids.

Hidden Calories

You might want to clue your family and friends into to the problem with beverages - other than water.  First, the calorie counts are off the charts, and then, their empty calories aren’t filling. Check out the calories in a 20 fluid ounce serving of the beverages on this list.  Soda and soft drinks are typically sold in 20 ounce bottles, and drinks served in little glasses, like eggnog, can easily add up to 20 ounces over the course of a day.


Your thoughts....

Have you been caught off-guard by the hidden calories in beverages?



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Comments


The simplest thing is to stick to water.  I gave up almost all of the above because it was giving me incredible heartburn and honestly after two months I don't miss any of them.  The only thing I make an exception for is one or two glasses of wine on the weekend, and then again, I don't drink 20 oz, more like 5 or 10 oz.

In the past though, the beverage that had surprised me the most was how a large double double from Tim Hortons was almost 300 calories.  That's a lot of cream and sugar.



Oh the irony.  The vast majority of the time my beverages are limited to black tea/coffee, water, and skim milk.  But yesterday my mom and I sprang for a...you guessed it, grande pumpkin spice latté - regular version -from Starbucks.  It was yummy, but after reading this I can honestly say it wasn't 510 calories worth of yummy!  Oy!



I have in the past, I stopped using the flavored syrups in my coffee when I go out because my last coffee came in at 200 calories! I'm going to have to make allowances for my one trip to Starbucks for a Peppermint Mocha this season - thats 400 calories! I only drink diet soda now and have started mixing 4oz of juice with some seltzer as I'm trying to wean off artificial sweeteners. Unchecked beverage intake will kill any diet plans if you're not careful.



Wine, Table, Red  500 calories

Wow, how much red wine are you drinking in one sitting?  When I have red wine my serving (depending on how much I have) ranges between the 90 and 125 calorie range.  But then, I'm not drinking half a bottle!  Herm....



So I HAVE to have my morning coffee. And I CAN'T drink it black! too bitter! So even if I get skim milk and splenda in my coffee, it's still a lot of calories. So am I better off with a regular coffee (cream, splenda) or a nonfat latte with splenda? Having no coffee in the morning isn't an option!



It's easy to get caught out - I used to drink Chai Latte at my local coffee shop. I had the idea that it was the 'healthy option'. Turned out it was low on caffeine but not on calories - 330 a time. 

I've weaned myself back onto ordinary coffee now.  It makes life much simpler.



So true. Since I have been counting my fluid calories in my diet, I started loosing. 40 lbs since Jan 1st. Who - hoo!



Original Post by: davidghallam

It's easy to get caught out - I used to drink Chai Latte at my local coffee shop. I had the idea that it was the 'healthy option'. Turned out it was low on caffeine but not on calories - 330 a time. 

I've weaned myself back onto ordinary coffee now.  It makes life much simpler.


According to my calculations a 6 oz cup of coffee is about 7 calories, splenda has no calories and if you use coffee mate original powdered creamer it has 20 calories for 2 teaspoons totalling 27 calories and even if you double it and have a 12 oz coffee with 4 tsps of powdered creamer you're only at 54 calories.  I can't drink coffee black either, too bitter for my taste...



All well and good, but what are the alternatives? For example how many calories in a "Skinny" latte, with sweetener instead of sugar? 12oz and 16oz.



sorry Laura... my reply was to the OP just for the record :)



I have truly cut back over the past 6-8 months on my alcohol consumption. I never had a problem with it, I just always grew up matching food with wine/beer and would have 1-3 with dinner each night (usually 2). I still love matching and pairing food/wine but I try to only do it on the weekends and only have 1. This has really helped !

I usually only have water, maybe 1 diet soda and 1-2 cups of coffee with a little but of half&half... all in all i think my 'beverage calories' are in check now. But looking at that list was scary ! ! SOOO many hidden calories in some of those drinks! My husband is a big eggnog fan so I think i'll at least buy a "skim milk" version or something... I would almost feel guilty sitting there watching him drink it (he's not a calorie counter)...

Anyways, Thanks Calorie Count for the reminder about calories from our beverages... its the time of year when it could REALLY add up fast with all the holiday parties, etc.



It's ok, I replied to the wrong comment myself.  My reply was supposed to be for kimberkat30.  oops :)

In addition, If you use .25 cup of skim milk if you don't like the powdered creamer its still only 20 calories.  so let's say you really really like your coffee!  12 oz cup of coffee 14 calories, half a cup of skim milk 40 calories and 2 packets of splenda.  54 calories total.  not too bad



I've been working out and eating healthy for the last 9 weeks. Liquid calories was a huge concern for me since I love fruit juices and sodas and my office stocks them for free. It was a little hard at first but I have completely eliminated all calorie drinks from my diet. Yes, all of them!  I'm proud to say I have lost 17 lbs so far. Yaaayyyy me!!!



Starbucks publishes a calorie guide that covers almost all of their hot and cold beverages, in all 3 sizes, and even many of the options of milk (regular, skim, soy, etc.) that you can pick up in most of their stores.  Mine says that you can have a hot skinny latte (skim milk) with splenda or sugar-free syrups, and without whipped cream for the following calorie hits:  tall=100 cal; grande=130; venti=180.  I personally love having this for my mid-afternoon snack because the milk in it fills me up better than most snack bars, and takes longer to consume.  One thing to keep in mind if you are getting it for a caffeine boost is that there are the same number of shots of espresso in a grande and a venti hot latte.  You can ask for a third shot of espresso in the venti and it actually decreases the calories a small amount, because the coffee displaces some of the milk that would be in there otherwise.



I get things like lattes as a special treat that works into my calorie consumption for the day.  Although I *love* Pepsi, I use that as a treat as well now.  For the most part, I drink water, flavoured or otherwise, tea, black coffee, and diet pop.  I know that artificial sweeteners aren't good for you, but I have a sweet tooth that I'm just not willing to completely sacrifice! :P   I mean c'mon, I've already given up juice!



Every once in a great while, as a treat, I'll get a nonfat caramel latte from McD's, a small is 150 calories and gives me some calcium.  I normally do this on a Friday when we do a coffee run at work.  For the most part I've severely cut back on my coffee because when I drink it I can't stomach breakfast, but I'm a fanatic for Coffeemate Gingerbread creamer and they've brought it back out for the season.  I put two tablespoons in a mug of coffee and have no need for sweetener, which brings my coffee to 80 calories.  Unfortunately it is not a good source of calcium so I'm not going to add this 80 empty calories everyday, but I will have it once or twice a week until they quit selling it again.



20 oz is quite a bit, really. No wonder some of those calorie counts are so high. Can you imagine drinking 20 oz of eggnog?  Ugh!  Three sips does me for the season.

I love black coffee. My drink of choice at Starbucks is a skinny vanilla latte - skim milk and sugar free vanilla syrup.  It's a very do-able 90 calories for a tall.  (But I usually get a grande, for 130.) As someone else stated, it fills you up and gives a calcium boost as well.  Lately, though, it's just bothered me that I spend that much money on any type of drink at all.  So I make it a less common treat both b/c of the money and the calorie expenditure.  And I keep water in my car at all times. It's amazing how often I think I want something to eat, when really all I need is a drink of water. 

 



I don't understand how this surprises people. It's like nobody knows what they're actually ingesting now-a-days. Cry If I'm at a restaurant I usually ask for nutritional information. Most places have them. Even Booster Juice has a binder that you can look at before you order. No nutritional information = no money from me.



I stick to green tea in the morning and water with a twist of lemon when i eat out .. no sugar, no splenda no nothing... i gave up soda years ago after reading the evils from it and only use it to clean toilets :P



Original Post by: magnoel

I stick to green tea in the morning and water with a twist of lemon when i eat out .. no sugar, no splenda no nothing... i gave up soda years ago after reading the evils from it and only use it to clean toilets :P


Wow! Soda works to clean toilets? I don't drink it, but I'm going to try it on the toilet now. I knew that Coke is great for getting grease out of laundry.

I stick to coffee and tea, mostly. When I have beer or wine, I count the calories. But my husband drinks a lot of calories, so I think that's why he's not having any luck with his diet. I'll have to remind him of liquid calories.



We moved in a very old house and the toilet seats where stained ( we took the water out and filled the tank with soda... it worked wonders!!!! we use it in the kitchen as well



How about Cappuccino?  I have low fat french vanilla from time to time or

double Mocha Cappuccino (not fat free). 



I find that I would rather get my calories from food. However, every once in a while I indulge in something like green tea soy milk. A lot of times I just have green tea. It's tasty and an alternative to water. I like water as well. Any more I don't drink soda, because it is a sugar bomb. I don't want to drink(or eat) that much sugar, it makes me feel ill. I am aware that you can drink your calories right away...if I get a hot chocolate, as I sometimes do, I must compensate by not eating as much for the rest of the day. I believe we just need to be aware of what we are putting in. Don't think that just because it is liquid that you won't get that many calories.



i gave up all drinks except for water and the few beer on the weekend. when im trying to lose i find calories in drinks are soooo not worth it. I use to love juices but just in 250ms there is usually 120-150. not worth it when i could eat more food and just drink water



Original Post by: vanfresca

I don't understand how this surprises people. It's like nobody knows what they're actually ingesting now-a-days. Cry If I'm at a restaurant I usually ask for nutritional information. Most places have them. Even Booster Juice has a binder that you can look at before you order. No nutritional information = no money from me.


I just wish we had that sort of information freely available in Europe, we don't. So this sort of information is really good.

Having said that I gave up coffe in August, I just went off the taste f it and these days my drink of choice is either cold or hot water, green tea or herb tea. 



This is a great article, especially the list of the actual calories in popular drinks. 

It is so easy to drink calories and then not consider them as part of the total calorie picture for the day.  Reducing added sugar from the things we drink can only have a positive effect on health. 

Eating an apple takes more time and has fewer calories than drinking a glass of apple juice.  Coffee and tea drinkers could try some Stevia for sweetness instead of sugar.  Juice can be used to flavor water instead of drinking it full strenth.  Laughing

 



the worst place for drinking calories is vacation. When we went to an all inclusive in Panama for our honeymoon, i was ingesting pina coladas about 4 times a day AND eating at the buffet... ugh.. don't wanna know how much calories i ingested that week! some tips an aunt gave me for special occasions.... white wine spritzer, cranberry juice cut with soda water and lime juice, plain sparkling water with a lemon slice... all much better calorie wise than margaritas and pina coladas!

I must admit myself that i love the pumpkin spice, gingerbread and eggnog lattes... but i usually get them as my afternoon snack when i do the 5 hour walking around christmas shopping, which im assuming compensates!



I used to be caught off guard, but now if I get a specialty drink from let's say Caribou coffee, the nutritional information is listed on line so I can figure it out first instead of drinking 500 calories, thinking it's only 100!



Original Post by: groovyoldlady

Oh the irony.  The vast majority of the time my beverages are limited to black tea/coffee, water, and skim milk.  But yesterday my mom and I sprang for a...you guessed it, grande pumpkin spice latté - regular version -from Starbucks.  It was yummy, but after reading this I can honestly say it wasn't 510 calories worth of yummy!  Oy!


I used to drink at least one double-double every day in University (no wonder I weighed 160lbs!)... and I never realized it was 300 calories until I looked it up online.  Pair that with a yummy Timmies apple fritter, and you're down for the count!

When I was in the process of losing 30lbs from there, the first thing my trainer said was to take the cream and sugar out of my coffee.  Since then (6 years ago), I've always had black coffee.

Thankfully, I don't drink pop at all.  I find it makes my mouth sticky and I just feel gross.  I don't know how people drink mass volumes of it.

I do treat myself to a chai latte every once in a while... like once a month or once every two months.  Other than that, it's black coffee and water for me... except for since I've gotten preganant.  I CRAVE big time a cup of pineapple juice mixed with a cup of orange juice.  But just a small glass at a time.



Man, that quote button is deceiving... I meant to quote maryfway...



Rather than give up your faves, how about substituting? I googled warm drinks made with protein powders (didn't like drinking cold protein shakes in the cooler weather) and found some GREAT ones! My fave is a vanilla protein powder scoop, 2 teaspoons chai tea flavored Maxwell House International Flavors (sugar, yes - but only 30 calories), and mix with water. Microwave it for 90 seconds and yum! My very own vanilla chai latte - about 170 calories BUT 26 g. protein. Worth it for me! Ready to try a chocolate protein powder with a swiss flavored sugar free Maxwell House flavor next...  I know the discussions of "killing" the protein when warming it, but I don't boil it - just warm it up.  Hope this helps!  We gotta live folks...



I rarely drink my calories.  One exception is when I'm done eating for the day, but I still need more calories to balance out.  I love mixing coco powder with fat free milk (to be replaced by hot chocolate this winter).  That way I get my calories in but I'm not eating something before I head to bed. 



*sigh*, every year I more than look forward to the return of eggnog and having a gigantic cup (or 2.. or 3...) on Thanksgiving and Christmas, but this year, after my newly turned leaf, with 220 calories, 9g of fat (6g sat.) and 30g carbs in just a HALF of a cup, I sure hope I can find a healthier alternative, because I can't drink that with a clear conscious!!!



i make my own late by mixing pumpkin spice in vanilla soy milk...shake it to make it frothy then heat for 30 sec in microwave... no sugar needed because its already sweet from the spices and vanilla its about 60 cal depending on how lite u like it



I like having the skim milk and sugar free version of these beverages.

 



I agree that a lot of folks probably don't take into account the calories they drink incidentally throughout the day. But as sandisings mentions, a normal low-fat latte is 180 calories. You use it as an example in your first sentence, (Most people would assume that a latté, non-fat, no whip would be low in calories. But no!  The count for a Pumpkin Spice Latte....) and then give calories for a Pumpkin Spice latte. They are two different drinks. It's important to record the actual drink you have or it isn't really helping you to know how many (or how few) extra miles you'll need to run to 'earn' it. Laughing The one that surprised me is V-8. Normal flavor has tons of sodium. And the rest have lots of sugar added. I previously thought it was a very healthy drink. Have to read those labels.

Very good article. Thanks.



What kind of green tea do you drink?   I have learned that soda unclogs drains. I used many chemicals and the only thing that worked was Coke. 



I had just logged onto Calorie Count for the first time today to add the Pumpkin Spice latte I had from Starbucks this morning. I've never had it before but assumed it was probably around 300 calories like the other drinks I get. I saw the article and figured I'd read it before adding my drink. Needless to say I was very shocked and sad to see my new drink as the subject. I guess I won't be making it my usual...

I try to stick to water or sometimes Propel which usually have 25 calories or less in a 20 oz. bottle. Sometimes I get a drink from Starbucks, or Dunkin Donuts, or I grab a soda. I always try to adjust my calories for the rest of the day.



Wow, good reminder.  I gave up drinking wine Monday thru Thursdays, (can't fathom not having a glass or two on the weekends!) but now I guess I need to give up my morning Chai Tea. :-( 



Yes. Malt shakes! I was so surprised at how bad they were. How can one drink have nearly half of your caloric intake for the whole day!? It was such a shock.

Alcohol also came as a surprise to me. I used to be a pretty big drinker and was surprised at how many calories I was actually consuming. But the worst thing about booze is not only does it have lots of calories, it also comes with drunk munchies and hangover feasts /sigh

 

 



Original Post by: maryfway

The simplest thing is to stick to water.  I gave up almost all of the above because it was giving me incredible heartburn and honestly after two months I don't miss any of them.  The only thing I make an exception for is one or two glasses of wine on the weekend, and then again, I don't drink 20 oz, more like 5 or 10 oz.

In the past though, the beverage that had surprised me the most was how a large double double from Tim Hortons was almost 300 calories.  That's a lot of cream and sugar.


Rule No. 1:  "do not drink your calories".  It has worked for me!

I stick to water and one or two cups of black coffee with splenda a day... remember, coffee is diuretic, so you better increase your water consumption.  I drink no less than 4 liters of water per day.

Non-fat milk:  only with my cereal and protein powder... and is a great source of calcium!



Drinking calories is all too easy it's true.  You can't always trust your taste buds either.  Gatorade tastes barely sweet to me compared to other drinks yet it still packs plenty of calories and gs of sugar.

One neat thing I just discovered over the weekend was that NYC is now mandating that fast food places put the calorie count of each individual item right on the overhead menu board (next to the price).  This is great!  So when I ordered my plain, skim milk latte, in small yet, I knew I was still getting 100 cals.

Ron



Original Post by: skinnygirl65

Wow, good reminder.  I gave up drinking wine Monday thru Thursdays, (can't fathom not having a glass or two on the weekends!) but now I guess I need to give up my morning Chai Tea. :-( 


As long as you're drinking black chai tea the calories are almost non existant.

If you're drinking a chai latte however that's a different story!



I live in Mississippi and Sweet Tea is my weakness (and my favorite food).  I live off black coffee and unsweet tea most days and try to work in a small sweet tea every week or so to keep from bingeing on it.   I gave up sodas almost 4 years ago when I first had to really diet to get off over 40 lbs.  After 6 months they tasted bad to me so I never went back.  I have never liked any artifical sweetners including splenda so it is all straight for me.



FYI, the 7-Eleven stores offer a Pumpkin Spiced Latte that I absolutely LOVED so I emailed them for nutritional info.  An 8 oz cup is 160 calories and 5 grams of fat - not bad and much better than the one at Starbucks!  Enjoy life and have a little fun!



Liquid calories, we don't ever think about that. We think about pizza, hamburgers, sandwiches, cakes cookies, when liquid calories can sneak up on you with just one glass vs a slice of pizza. Personally, I will stick to teas and water.... its what your body needs anyway, it's natural and doesn't cause you harm. Eat healthy, drink healthy..... as a way of life..Eat smart, drink smart, you'll enjoy the benefits. I didn't, I do now, when I was getting extremely overweight and sick due to not being conscience on what I was putting in my mouth.Surprised I was hospitalized 3 XS In one year, and ended up with all kinds of stomach issues.. It's not worth it...



If you want to keep your specialty coffees but don't want all the calories, here what I do.

Order half sweet (you cut your sweetener pumps in half)

Non-fat (Cuts fat and calories, but sucks if you like whole milk. I prefer non-fat)

No whip or Light whip (some drinks really do need whip. If you ask for light whip, its like a little treat on top but not the whole thing!)

Short or Tall (you don't need a venti or even a grande to yourself. Try ordering a short, 8oz compared to the 12 oz for a tall.)



All really great ideas and tips! I'm going to try the protein mix instead of cream. Still 90 calories per packet of mix... but higher quality calories than creamer.  :)



someone mentioned alcohol on the weekends.  actually a few people did.  I too enjoy a couple of drinks on a Friday or Saturday night.  I found Bud Premium Select 55 (beer) with only 55 calories.  I don't feel as guilty consuming around 200 calories one night a week but of course I compensate for those by eating less that day. 



who gets a venti these days anyway?

I'd rather have a tall nonfat latte than 2 tablespoons of mayo - and I love mayo.



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